Custard Kanafeh: Lebanese Recipe

Custard kanafeh


  • Prep: 100 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Total: 160 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Cooking Method: Baking
  • Recipe Cuisine: Middle-Eastern


  • 500grams kanafeh dough
  • 250grams Saffron Butter (melted)
  • 500milliliters Low-Fat Milk
  • 1/2cup water
  • 1tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1tablespoon rose water
  • 2cups sugar
  • 50grams vanilla custard
  • 450milliliters sugar syrup
  • 50grams pistachios, crushed
  • 25grams almond

One of the most delicious traditional Middle Eastern desserts is Kanafeh which is very popular in Lebanon and the Levant. It is composed of layered shredded filo pastry, soaked in a sweet syrup, and filled with cheese or nuts. It has many different variants in Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon. But all of them are sweet and crunchy.
Custard Kanafeh is a syrup-soaked dessert in which custard is the filling. You are free to use any flavored custard of your choice. Add a little saffron and make a lovely Custard Kunefe with the wonderful aroma and Middle Eastern essence.


Step 1

First, prepare sugar syrup. Take a saucepan, add 1/2 cup water with 1 cup sugar and lemon juice for 15 minutes. After that, remove the mixture from heat and add in the rose water.

Step 2

Using a processor or scissors, break kanafeh dough. Melt Saffron Butter in the microwave. Pour butter on kunefe dough and mix them well together using your hand for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Take a saucepan, add in the Low-Fat Milk and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the sugar and simmer for a few more minutes. Mix the Vanilla Custard with four tablespoons of water and add it to the milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Continue cooking on medium heat until it gets thick. Turn the heat off. Set it aside to cool.

Step 4

In a baking pan, arrange a layer of a bigger portion of kunefe dough, pressing in tightly to the bottom and up to the sides of the pan. Pour a generous amount of custard on top of the first layer of kanafeh. Cover the custard layer with another thin layer of kanafeh dough, slightly pressing on top.

Step 5

Bake the custard kanafeh in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, turn up the heat before it’s done. Pour half of the lukewarm sugar syrup over hot kunefe in the pan.

Step 6

Put the pan of Custard Kanafeh in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then, turn it upside down to transfer it from the pan into a serving plate. In the end, pour the remaining sugar syrup on top and decorate it with pistachios and almonds. Serve it along the main course or with a hot drink and enjoy!

Cooking Notes

You can store the Custard Kanafeh in plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then, you should thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and remove the plastic to bake as per the recipe instructions.

You can substitute the kunefe dough with vermicelli.


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